April 14, 2024
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Challah and Chizuk: This Motzei Shabbat

Bergen County–“What can we do to help?” is a question that constantly plagues us when we hear of a tragedy or of somebody going through a difficult time. The answers that we come up with may vary in their usefulness, but there is still that universal feeling of wanting to lessen the pain or suffering of another individual by giving of ourselves.

And so, when a group of women in Bergen County found out that a young mother had been stricken for the second time with a debilitating and possibly fatal disease, they chose to take action. Here was a woman who was a lot like them, but she was suffering, and they weren’t going to stand by and accept that. They couldn’t help with her carpools, dinners, or watching her kids, as all of her basic needs were already addressed, but they could come forth in other ways. A cross-county challah event was born and will take place on Sunday night, October 5. (Shuls or groups who care to join after reading this article, should let JLBC know with an email to [email protected]. We will post the notices on our Facebook page.)

“The goal is to teach and inspire women in the mitzvah of challah,” said one organizer, who wishes to remain anonymous. The moment the separation of challah is done from the dough, and a blessing is recited, there is an opportunity to pray for another person in need, and to dedicate that act in his or her merit. “If we can get hundreds of women together on the same night, learning, praying, and committing to this mitzvah, our actions can become powerful.”

Several synagogues were asked to participate, and agreed to host an event. Each class will be taught by a different baking professional, with varying themes and styles. For a complete list of times and events, please see below.

The classes will all take place on Sunday night, October 5th, the night after Yom Kippur. Everyone, from the youngest children, tweens, teens, young adults, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas, is invited to do the mitzvah of challah in the merit of the complete and quick Refuah Sheleymah of Aleza Shulamit Bracha bas Rachel Hinda. All groups will recite tehillim for her, and donations can be made to iShine of Teaneck, an organization that helps families facing terminal illness or loss. So far, the following shuls are having bake-ins:

Ohr Saadya: 8:30 p.m. Learn with Yvette Braunstein, Sarah Klayn, Jen Lipstein and Jenny Nachbar about the mitzvah of challah; the art of making challah dough; hands-on challah kneading and braiding techniques and ideas and recipes for an array of stuffing and topping options. No charge. Suggested donation to iShine. For information contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Bnai Yeshurun: 8 p.m. A Whole New Look at Challah. Learning the use of whole grains, new braids, and recycling challah leftovers with culinary wizard Merav Dahan. Fee: $18. For information contact: [email protected]

Keter Torah: 8 p.m. Class taught by the talented L’via Weisinger, to include the art of making challah and hands-on braiding techniques. No charge. For info contact: [email protected]

Young Israel of Teaneck: 8 p.m. Join the Challah Fairy in learning how to braid two circular shaped challot and studying the significance of the mitzvah. Fee: $30/members, $36/non-members. For information contact: [email protected]

Beit Medrash of Bergenfield: 8:15 p.m. The talented Chava Gottleib will discuss the mitzvah of challah, the art of making challah dough, and teach hands-on challah braiding techniques. No charge. Suggested donation to iShine. For information contact: [email protected]

By Sarah Abenaim

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